JAMES TYLER

THUNDERBIRDS

THUNDERBIRDS @ Burning Man 2017 [in progress]

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Three towering figures formed in a stylized mixed media assemblage. In name they reference the mythological beings of Native American lore.  In concept the sculptures speak to the universality of our human spirit viewed through our stories across time and geography.

[photo is of a single half-scale prototype replicated three times onto the playa site of the sculpture made for Burning Man 2015. In the actual grouping each of the three will be unique, one-of-a-kind sculptures.]

INTERACTIVITY AND MISSION

The grouping of towering figures is a gathering of human spirits. The steel wings create the illusion of motion in space. Worn and weathered the rusty steel evokes the transience of time. Sound elements conger a sense of primordial place; the dry lakebed, the playa. In a Black Rock Desert dust storm I expect participants to find themselves in a place of otherworldliness.  Lighting for this installation with be simple, a circle of illumination, an ethereal cocoon; an open invitation for participatory continuation of the interactive experience into the night.

In some of the traditional stories, the thunderbirds number four, representing north, south, east, and west. Mine will number three, but a place will be delineated for the viewer to step in, to join the assembly, to become the fourth entity.

PHILOSOPHY

What is our collective future? The Thunderbirds are assembled from tree trunks [life on earth], ceramic human heads [humanity/us] and rusted steel [time/industrial civilization in decay]. They are guardians from the higher world, protectors of the lower world. They are human in form, not avian. They are earthbound. They are all of us. We are them.

THUNDERBIRDS

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